If you’ve read some of our previous blogs, you’ll recognize the phrase “Actionable Intelligence”.
But really, what is it?
Actionable Intelligence is contextual data provided to the right people at the right time to inform a decision, action, or strategy.
Now, it’s important to emphasize the key component nestled within that answer: context.
Data presented without context is cause for confusion, slowed and potentially misinformed decisions.
With the rapid advancement of technology throughout our industry, more data is being aggregated and presented than we can intelligently process when it’s absent of context.
No matter your industry, you’ve likely sat in a meeting watching a presentation littered with beautifully formatted graphs, charts, and indicators but at the end left you wondering “So what?”
That is data without context.
Sitting through a meeting reviewing data without context costs you - and others in the meeting - valuable time that doesn’t move you any closer to a decision. Instead, it leaves you and the audience without data relevancy or understanding of what action to take.
Actionable Intelligence and the Construction Industry
Now that we’ve got a better understanding of what actionable intelligence is, let’s talk about why it’s so important in the construction industry.
At KDI, we believe the largest impact to projects and programs are surprises that arise in the supply chain during execution. This is why we like to talk about the construction supply chain using the Known-Unknown Framework reflected below.
The more we move into the Known-Known (top left), the more predictable programs and projects can be.
The earlier we identify solutions to the unknowns, the higher the probability of program and project success.
Now, as much as we’d like to think that most projects live in the Known-Known and Known-Unknown (top right) with just a few in the Unknown-Known (bottom left), the reality is most of them live in Unknown-Known and Unknown-Unknown (bottom right) due to lack of true visibility and depth into the supply chains.
A Project Without Actionable Intelligence
Here’s an example of what this looks like when planning a project without Actionable Intelligence:
- Your project team has planned the job and knows there are constraints in the steel market.
- The team has completed a risk assessment regarding the potential cost escalations and lead time impacts based on the steel constraints.
- To account for potential impacts, the team calls some of your usual suppliers for updates and found they don’t currently have any cost impacts and are only seeing 1-2 week impacts to lead times.
- Over the course of several weeks the team consolidates all the information they need to finish updates to the schedule, budget and risk assessments, and the project is approved to proceed.
- The team jumps into action and starts placing orders for long lead materials and equipment and immediately see price escalations to your steel mill order and durations that are up to eight weeks longer than anticipated for your strut order.
This happens over and over again: we plan a project based on a snapshot in time, but what we don’t see are those orders being placed to the same suppliers impacting their backlog/lead times or global market impacts that increase commodity costs that we don’t see until months later when we place the order.
Sure, sure - you move forward with your early mill order and reserve your “spot in line”, but does that really prevent the risk?
Now if your team had access to the early Actionable Intelligence from the supply chain, you would’ve been informed of the changes in the market. This would give your team options and time to adjust plans before impacting the project.
Actionable Intelligence at Work
So now that we know what it is and why it’s important, how do we begin to use Actionable Intelligence to positively impact projects going forward?
Actionable Intelligence through KDI is real time, dynamic and multi-directional between owners, builders and suppliers. The added transparency of multi-directional flow of information allows all parties to make earlier decisions that ultimately help stabilize supply chains.
Getting to this idyllic state within the construction industry requires systematic connections of relevant data points housed within each node of the supply chain:
- Lead times and availability,
- Material and product optionality,
- Supply chain risk variables,
- Production status and availability, and
- Geographical sourcing opportunities.
Gathering this data has been attempted for years. While these efforts are yielding some returns and continuously improving the baseline performance standards, a critical aspect remains missing.
So what is it?
The key to providing a highly valuable and dynamic view into the supply chain is to organize and filter the data into the right context for the organization.
Ensuring the accuracy of intelligent signals from within the supply chain requires QAQC to ensure relevancy to the receiving stakeholders.
At KDI, we believe this is all possible through detailed data management.
The more definition that is understood at the program, project, and product levels, the more relevant and useful the data is able to be.
Through KDI’s flagship platform, InfrastructureBuilder.AI, we’re able to establish supply chain data connections that are dynamic and scalable. This creates the foundation for which Actionable Intelligence can be surfaced.
The mapping between projects and their integrated supply chains creates the boundary conditions of programmatic delivery optimization.
If we focus on early and often Actionable Intelligence, we’re shifting our view to a contextualized data set as a means to make decisions for the future and not a means to judge the success of a past project.
As we begin to wrap our hands around the possibilities provided by Actionable Intelligence, we have high expectations for this evolution and what will come from the Unknown-Unknown of construction supply chain big data.
InfrastructureBuilder.AI was created to help provide the context and allow any participant to map their data.
We provide scalable workflows supporting a wide range of specific use-cases and allow for a common understanding of what an integrated supply chain can communicate to all stakeholders.
KDI is here to help you organize your supply chain data in the context you need to enable your teams delivery in ways you didn’t think was possible.